Three honored in 2022 Stern awards at LA Opera

A trio of SoCal-beloved vocalists have been awarded a total of $60,000 as the Eva and Marc Stern Artist Award continues after its launch in 2021. Tenor Ben Bliss (a former Lister, so “go, Ben!”), mezzo J’Nai Bridges and soprano Liv Redpath have proven themselves over and over in local productions, so their devoted following in this area is confirmed. But all three have also established themselves more than admirably in productions all over, so this distinction is obviously well-deserved. Congrats to all — we’re cheering for you!

See press release below (with some additional photos, courtesy of LA Opera):




LA Opera announces the 2022 recipients of the Eva and Marc Stern Artist Award

Three honorees—Ben Bliss, J’Nai Bridges and Liv Redpath—are recognized for their artistic achievements at LA Opera and around the world

(Los Angeles) March 22, 2022 — LA Opera has announced the 2022 recipients of the Eva and Marc Stern Artist Award: tenor Ben Bliss, mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and soprano Liv Redpath.

Now in its second year, the Stern Artist Award was established by two of LA Opera’s greatest champions and most dedicated supporters, Eva and Marc Stern. The annual award celebrates and supports extraordinarily gifted artists in opera. This year’s $60,000 award (split between the three recipients) recognizes artists with deep connections to LA Opera and serves as an expression of gratitude for past and future artistic contributions to the company.

Chairman of the company’s board of directors from 2002 to 2021, and now serving as Honorary Chairman, Marc Stern has been the driving force in bringing many of the world’s most influential artists to Los Angeles. The Sterns have been involved in nearly every aspect of LA Opera over many years, championing more than 15 ambitious projects including the Ring cycle, numerous new productions, and DVD releases of La Traviata (with Renée Fleming) and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (with Audra McDonald and Patti LuPone). Through the Eva and Marc Stern Principal Artists Fund, which they established in 2017, they have underwritten the performances of Plácido Domingo in Nabucco, Don Carlo and his 50th Anniversary Concert, Susan Graham in Hansel and Gretel and St. Matthew Passion, and Audra McDonald in her 2018 concert with the LA Opera Orchestra. The Sterns were also the underwriters for Mr. Domingo’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Met. In recognition of their extraordinary longtime involvement and support of LA Opera and The Music Center, the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was named in their honor in 2010.        

The 2022 Honorees

Ben Bliss as Daniel in LA Opera’s 2012 production of “The Festival Play of Daniel”.

Tenor Ben Bliss is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting performers on today’s operatic stage, both in America and internationally. He received early training as a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program from 2011 through 2013. He made his company debut in 2011 as Benvolio in Roméo et Juliette and subsequently appearing in La Bohème, The Two Foscari and Dulce Rosa as well as singing the title role in the Cathedral production of The Festival Play of Daniel. He returned to the company in 2016 in the leading role of Tamino in The Magic Flute and is currently appearing in the company’s presentation of the St. Matthew Passion. His appearances this season include Ferrando in Così fan tutte at the San Francisco Opera, Pylade in Iphigénie en Tauride at the Opéra de Rouen and a return to the Metropolitan Opera for Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress. Recent highlights include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, and Ferrando in Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera, and he was a 2021 recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Beverly Sills Award. 

J’Nai Bridges (right) as Nefertiti, with Anthony Roth Costanzo in LAO’s 2016 “Akhnaten”. Photo by Craig T. Mathew / LA Opera

Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges regularly graces the world’s top opera and concert stages. She made her LA Opera in 2016 as Nefertiti in Akhnaten, returning for Kasturbai in Satyagraha (2018) and Jocasta in Oedipus Rex (2021) as well as an online Signature Recital (2021). She is a leading figure in classical music’s shift toward conversations of inclusion and racial justice in the performing arts. She led LA Opera’s widely acclaimed panel on race and inequality in opera that drew international acclaim for being a “conversation of striking scope and candor” (New York Times). Her 2021/22 season includes the world premieres of Kamal Sankaram’s Rise and Carlos Simon’s it all falls down with Washington National Opera,  the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s A Knee on the Neck with the National Philharmonic, Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the world premiere of Chris Rogerson’s Sacred Earth with the Amarillo Symphony, Beethoven’sSymphony No. 9 with the Houston Symphony, and a solo recital at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Operatic engagements include the title role in Carmen with Palm Beach Opera, and Jocasta in Oedipus Rex with the San Francisco Symphony. Other recent highlights include the title role of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera and Canadian Opera Company, Nefertiti in Akhnaten at the Metropolitan Opera, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila at Washington National Opera.

Liv Redpath as Amour, with Maxim Mironov in LAO’s “Orpheus and Eurydice” in 2018. Photo by Ken Howard / LA Opera

Liv Redpath is quickly becoming a leading soprano leggero on the opera and concert stage today. She was a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program from 2016 through 2019, making her company debut in 2016 as the Second Apparition in Macbeth. She has now appeared in eight company productions to date, with appearances in the leading roles of Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann (2017)Amour in Orpheus and Eurydice (2018)and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel (2019). She will return to LA Opera next season in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor. Her appearances this season include the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at the Bavarian State Opera  in Munich, Zenobia in Handel’s Radamisto with San Francisco’s Philarmonia Baroque Orchestra, arias from Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice with the Met Orchestra Chamber Ensemble in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; an all-Schubert program with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; a chamber music concert with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the Mozart Requiem with the Long Beach Symphony.

Learn more at LAOpera.org/SternAward.

Click here to hear directly from this year’s honorees.

About LA Opera

Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be. Through imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions, and inventive performances that preserve foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies.

In addition to its mainstage performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the company explores unusual repertoire each season through the LA Opera Off Grand initiative, featuring performances in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles. The LA Opera Connects initiative, which offers a robust variety of educational programming and community engagement offerings, reaches people throughout every corner of Los Angeles County. Learn more at LAOpera.org.

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www.laopera.org


Featured image courtesy of Pacific Opera Project

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